Where do Ideas Come From? Brain Activity and Economic Systems
Economic systems and the brain are both structurally complex systems expressing sophisticated goal-oriented behaviour. Over the last years measurement techniques commonly used in cognitive neuroscience started being used to analyze questions that are relevant to economic and business research. However, early efforts have mainly considered individual decision-related economic processes, and have confined themselves to mapping observed activity to some (essentially static) aspect of brain activity. As a result, economic fields dealing with supra-individual constructs, such as innovation economics, are yet to find meaningful links with aims and tools of cognitive neuroscience. Here we propose a conceptual framework in which brain activity is described as a self-organizing non-linear system continuously forming and destroying networks of functionally meaningful activity. It is suggested that ideas arise in the context of specific relationships between structure, dynamics and function of brain networks at various temporal and spatial scales, and as a result of goaldirected learning-dependent modulations of conflicting structural and dynamical systemic tendencies between high susceptibility to change and long-term memory. Ways to transfer these descriptions to economic constructs are proposed.
Scaling, Parametric Noise, Networks, Topology, Dynamics, Metaplasticity